Brenda Spotton Visano is a University Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration and the Department of Economics. She is a member of the Graduate Programs in Economics, Public Policy Administration & Law, Sociology, and Social & Political Thought. She teaches, researches and publishes in the areas of macroeconomics, monetary theory and policy, access to basic banking, and higher education. Dr. Spotton Visano has been a consultant to agencies of the Canadian Federal Government, the not-for-profit sector, labour organizations, and universities.


Professor Spotton Visano's research uses interdisciplinary materials from economics, sociology, business and political science to examine comparatively the history and evolution of instability in and access to financial institutions and markets. Her current research in microfinance focuses on the way in which community-based financial arrangements in Canada's inner cities can promote financial inclusion, local community development and financial stability. She works closely with community partners to promote basic financial literacy and consumer financial protection in Canada. Funded research in the area of access to higher education for non-traditional students complements her research on access to basic finance.

Taking a “critical” or “progressive” approach to economic inquiry, her scholarship most broadly encompasses the interaction between economics, the economy, and institutions.  Macroeconomic financial crises and microfinance are the primary sites of inquiry. If the crises are failures of institutions as socio-economic organizing devices embedded in a network of economic and social relations (re)building community-based finance networks is necessary for regaining financial and economic stability. This approach demands an understanding of analytical and technical concepts (monetary theories, asset valuation), processes (defined by legal constraints and accepted practices), networks (portfolio linkages, institutional structures) and an appreciation for cultural tensions (between capitalism and community, between competition and cooperation).


Professor Spotton Visano is an award winning teacher--recipient of the University Wide Teaching Award (2001) and the the provincial OCUFA award for teaching excellence (2000). She teaches courses on money and banking, macroeconomics, and interdisciplinary research methods. Graduate and senior undergraduate students conduct supervised research in related areas.

Service to the University and Other Communities

Professor Spotton Visano is a member of the Research Sub-committee of the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy (Financial Consumer Agency of Canada), the Progressive Economics Forum Steering Committee, and the community-based Black Creek Financial Action Network. Recognition of her professional service contributions includes the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) "Status of Women Award of Distinction" (2012), the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Dedicated Service Award (2004).

She has served as Chair of the Senate of York University; Associate Dean (Academic, Atkinson Faculty); Chief Negotiator for a 7-union coalition bargaining pension plan changes and for the faculty union bargaining 4 Collective Agreements; founding Director of York's Transition Year Program (2010-2015) - an access bridging program for high potential young adults; YUFA/OCUFA representative to the Ontario University Pension Plan Working Group; Chair of the York University Pension Group (a coalition of unionized members of the York Pension Plan), Chair of Atkinson Faculty Council; Managing Editor of the Journal of Economic Asymmetries; President of the Canadian Women Economists Network/Réseau de Femmes Économistes (CWEN/RFÉ); and Chair of the joint CWEN/RFÉ-Canadian Economics Association committee surveying and examining the status of women economists in Canada.